“Let’s Talk Clovis” Honoring all Veterans and fifty-nine Clovis Gold Star Heroes

59-clovis-gold-star-heroesBy Peg Bos, Clovis Museum

The Clovis Museum will continue its tradition of honoring 59 Clovis Gold Star Heroes by reading their names and honoring all veterans at their monthly program “Let’s Talk Clovis” program on Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Clovis Veteran’s Memorial Building. The public is invited.

WWI: We entered the war on April 6, 1917. The armistice was signed on Nov. 11, 1918.  We remember our 10 Gold Star Heroes. Clovis had a population of 1,357 with 22 graduates from Clovis High. John Cecil Cox, only son of Clovis High faculty member Professor J.M. Cox, would be our first Clovis Gold Star Hero.

WWII: We entered the war on Dec. 7, 1941. The war ended on Dec. 31, 1946. Of the 28 Gold Star Heroes (population of Clovis, 1,626) 14 were graduates of Clovis High. The first verse and stanza of “America the Beautiful” was the forward for the 1943 Clovis High Cavalcade. David Lancaster and Hugh Norenberg (1943 graduates) would become Gold Star Heroes.

Korean War: We entered the war on June 25, 1950. The armistice was signed on July 27, 1953. Our two Gold Star Heroes: Antonio Lopez, who died at age 18, was killed in action on Oct. 17, 1951. Richard Caster (1950 Clovis High graduate) died in combat June 6, 1951. He was the only son of Grover and Grayce Caster. Grover Caster was a shop teacher at Clovis High.

Vietnam War: We entered the war on Jan. 2, 1963. The war ended on May 7, 1975. Of the seven Gold Star Heroes, Ronnie Pendergraft (1966 Clovis High graduate) was killed in action Jan. 6, 1968, after serving less than three weeks in Vietnam. The Vietnam Memorial Wall now lists 58,267 Gold Star Heroes.

Desert Storm-The Gulf War: We joined a worldwide coalition under the UN to liberate the country of Kuwait on Jan. 15, 1991. Cease fire was issued on Feb. 27, 1991. Terrorism continued and Gold Star Hero USAF Captain Leland Haun was killed July 25, 1996 by terrorists at Khoba Towers, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.

Iraq War: The United States led a multinational coalition invasion of Iraq on March 20, 2003. The conflict continues. Of our 11 Gold Star Heroes of the Iraq/Afghanistan wars, eight were graduates of Buchanan High School. Childhood buddies Jared Hubbard and Jeremiah Baro joined the Marines together and died together Nov. 4, 2004. Jared’s two brothers (Jason and Nathan Hubbard) enlisted in the Army after Jared’s Death. Nathan was killed in a Blackhawk crash  Aug. 22, 2007. It was a stunning loss for the Hubbard family and our community.

Patriotic songs were morale boosters during WWI and WWII. A 1942 “Victory Song Book” was published (25 cents) by Robbins Music Corporation. WWI song “Over There” was written (1917) by George M. Cohan while “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” was a Civil War melody published in 1863. Irish immigrant Patrick Gilmore wrote the lyrics.

In 1918, Sidney Mitchell and Archie Gottler published “Would You Rather Be A Colonel With An Eagle On Your Shoulder, Or A Private With A Chicken On Your Knee?”

Popular WWII songs included: The 1939 “Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree with Anyone Else But Me” was published by Lew Brown, Charles Tobias and Sam Stept. In 1938, Irving Kahal and Sammy Fain published “I’ll be Seeing You.” In 1942, Glenn Miller’s band reintroduced the song. The American people connected with the powerful emotional words of the song.  

The Clovis Museum has a veteran’s room that is dedicated to all veterans and our Gold Star Heroes. They are an important part of our rich heritage.